By Carol McCracken
There sat Chris Reiling – in the leather easy chair by the window staring into the screen of his laptop. When asked if he were rich, important or famous, this young man looked MHN straight in the eye and with conviction said, “I hope someday to be famous.” There was MHN’s next interview at the ever so popular hang-out Hilltop Coffee Shop.
MHN eased into the large easy couch almost opposite Chris before he could change his mind about granting me an interview with him. Originally from Philadelphia, his family moved to Topsham when he was about 6 years old. When he was 9, he joined the school glee club. From there he transitioned into school plays – where he worked his way up from the bottom of the ladder to starring roles in school plays.
Fast forward and Chris is now 27 years old. The end of October he co-stars in a Good Theater production of the award winning“Stones in His Pocket.” It’s a challenging role because he and his co-star (Brian Chamberlain) play sixteen different characters between the two of them. The changes are all done on stage with no costume changes – the different personalities come about through attitude and physical changes said director Stephen Underwood. In preparation for the many roles, Underwood has his co-stars immerse themselves in improv exerercies on the stage of the St. Lawrence Arts & Cultural Center on Munjoy Hill where the play will be presented. The play won the Olivier Award in 2001 for best comedy. It’s a comedy with a dark side to contemplate.
Director Underwood, himself a critically acclaimed comedy actor was enthusiastic about Chris’ comedic skills. “He’s a natural comedic actor. Chris has good instincts,” said Underwood, in a recent telephone conversation from his home in Scarborough. Chris played a comedy role in the Good Theater’s production of “Prelude to a Kiss” last season.
Probably dating back to his glee club days, Chris has always loved music as well. He’s a singer and a songwriter who accompanies himself and others on the guitar. As much as he loves acting, he also loves music. In the short term, his many fans can hear him sing and play his guitar at the North Star Café on Congress Street on Thursday, August 28th at 8:45 p.m. He will be singing with and accompanying Bethany Moran.
Currently, Chris works at the Front Room Restaurant on the Hill not far from his apartment and across Congress Street from the Good Theater. www.goodtheater.com at the St. Lawrence. Next spring Chris will appear in “A Funny Thing Happened ..” with Kelly Caulfield – which he is looking forward to – again at the St. Lawrence.
As to his future, Chris plans to move to New York City within the next year or so to pursue his acting career. Perhaps after that he will return to college to study acting – complimenting the degree he’s already earned from the University of Southern Maine in general science. And he says he will always pursue his musical career as well.
If MHN were a betting blog, it would bet its social security check on the career of Chris Reiling because he’s one full package!